Imagine seeing your teenage friends living the complete opposite of your humble life. They seem to have it all together, excelling in their careers, getting hitched, building homes, splurging on whatever they desire, travelling to fancy destinations, and capturing those picture-perfect moments of their seemingly perfect lifestyles. It’s hard not to compare yourself, especially when society constantly equates your worth and success with the size of your bank account or the things you own.
That wasn’t a mere thought experiment.
It’s my story…
At 27, I often feel like an underachieving loser due to my depressing financial situation and lack of career progress. Lately, I’ve started associating my self-worth with money, struggling to afford my own place and support loved ones.
In essence, when you’re without money, it feels vital like oxygen. But usually, once you get financial stability, its importance seems to diminish. A study found that people who prioritize money over time are less happy than those who prioritize time over money. The study’s authors concluded that “money can buy happiness, but only if you spend it on experiences, not on possessions.”
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”— Malcolm S. Forbes
The Truth About Money: It’s Powerful and Does Change You
- Though the perception that money is everything is undoubtedly skewed, it’s not so far from the truth. While money can’t buy happiness, it does provide us with a certain level of freedom, security, class, and opportunities to pursue our dreams. And let’s be honest, having those things can go a long way in bringing us happiness.
- Ignorance and naivety lie in believing that you can navigate through the system without money, even for just a single day, let alone for months, years, or a lifetime.
- Another way of being naïve is to think that money won’t change you. Most people who claim this either have very little money or none at all. The truth is, once you decide to start making your own money and earning a substantial amount, your life begins to change in significant ways, including the type of people you associate with. This change happens because of the ways you begin to think, the places you visit, and the activities you partake in.
The significance of money is unchanging, and people will continue to have varied perspectives on it and go to great lengths to acquire it. This is because the foundation of the world system we (humans) have constructed is built upon finances (funds).
Money And Your Worth: Two Separate Entities
You should think of money as;
- A medium for exchange. For example, when you buy a coffee at a café and pay with cash or a credit card, money acts as the medium of exchange.
- A store of wealth. For instance, when you deposit money in a bank account or invest in stocks, you are using money as a store of purchasing power, as it retains its value and can be used later to buy goods or services.
- A standard for measuring the value of goods and services. For example, if you want to buy a laptop, you can compare its price in monetary terms with the price of other laptops to determine which one offers the best value for your money.
But, it doesn’t define your value or worth. Because, even a fool can stumble upon wealth, just as the wise can. Some wise individuals have no money, just as there are fools who do not. Anyone can acquire money, but not everyone carries true worth.
Yes! Having decent cash in your name and being skilled at managing money reflects positively on you — as it alludes to your good qualities, abilities, and judgment.
However, money isn’t always physical cash. Many wealthy people don’t have billions in their bank accounts; instead, they own an idea, system, or network of people who help them overcome financial challenges. This can be assets, paper documents, or even friends, etc. [And] they don’t come by obsessing over money but rather by pursuing something greater and meaningful.
- Elon Musk aims to travel to Mars.
- Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect the world, and
- Jeff Bezos desires to create an all-in-one store.
And, they all have one thing in common; to help humanity (people).
“If money’s where you find happiness, you’ll always be poor”– N. F.
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Why You Should Stop Money Obsession: Redefining Your Self-Worth Beyond Money
After a week of feeling frustrated and angry about my life and money, I decided to talk to a colleague who is also a friend and teacher.
I told him how I felt about money and that sometimes I feel like I’m under a curse. His advice was orthodox but its clarity made it so insightful, and I think it can help anyone in a similar situation. He said:
“Money is important
What you wish to do with your life is more important.
You want to be a writer and photographer, yes?
Well, that will happen, given time
When that happens, all your money anxieties will be gone.
Also, keep in mind that you DON’T NEED millions to be okay.
You simply need a little more than enough to be okay.
You simply have to be able to pay rent, feed, and buy some clothes. A little more and money stop being of any value save luxury.
You’re not that far from a radically different and happy life.
You simply have to stick to it a little longer.
Usually, getting a nice-paying job eliminates the stress.
If you want to create your path, it’s gonna be a bit more challenging.
I have chosen this part. And so have you. You just have to endure a little bit more.“
This advice is so profound that I was able to derive 10 actionable lessons on how to find your true value. And I will love to share them with you.
“Your self-worth grows when you fight for something you love.”— Maxime Lagacé
How To Stop Money Obsession: 10 Steps To Pursue A Meaningful Life
Money obsession is an unhealthy desire for money that can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also disrupt relationships and prevent you from pursuing your passions. While money is important, chasing money for its own sake often leads to unhappiness. Below are some ways to overcome your money obsession:
Seek fulfilment, not just financial security:
Always remember that your real worth comes from finding satisfaction and meaning in what you do, rather than just chasing after money. Because money has its limits, but your personal value and fulfilment have no boundaries – in fact, it goes a long way to generate overall success.
Explore diverse paths:
You want to explore and assess various avenues toward success, including both conventional employment options and unconventional paths. Take the time to carefully evaluate which route resonates most with your values and long-term aspirations.
Prioritize Life’s Desires Over Money:
While money is important, focus on what you truly want to do with your life (which is what you can control). Whether it’s becoming an exceptional parent, mastering culinary skills, or being a reliable friend, investing in these areas will not only enrich your life but also contribute to your overall happiness and well-being. In short, while money has its place, don’t let it overshadow the pursuit of a meaningful, adventurous, and fulfilling life.
Embrace Patience And Persistence:
Understand that meaningful achievements take time and effort. Stay focused on your goals, regardless of the challenges or setbacks that come your way. Learn from obstacles, adapt your approach, and keep pushing forward. Remember that the journey towards achievement is a marathon, not a sprint, and each step forward brings you closer to your desired outcome.
You don’t need millions to be content. Determine the minimum resources you need to cover essential expenses like housing, food, and clothing. Shift your focus from accumulating excessive wealth to finding contentment with a modest surplus.
Focus on engaging in activities that bring you joy, align with your passions, and contribute to your sense of purpose. These endeavors will enrich your life in ways that money alone cannot.
It’s important to recognize that many decisions you make will involve trade-offs, meaning there will be sacrifices with pros and cons, as well as potential consequences and rewards for each choice you make.
Seek a balance between practicality and passion, ensuring that your chosen pursuit aligns with your core beliefs and desired impact on the world. By considering a range of options, you can make an informed decision that propels you toward a fulfilling and purpose-driven journey.
Note: A well-paying job can alleviate financial anxiety if you find one, but if you want to forge your own path, expect more challenges along the way.
Accept the challenges that come with paving your own path and remain resilient when faced with obstacles. Endurance and perseverance are essential for achieving the lifestyle you desire.
Remember the words of Marcus Aurelius, which was famously endorsed by Ryan Holiday in his book title; “The obstacle is the way.” Instead of avoiding or fearing obstacles, view them as opportunities for growth and progress.
Embrace them as stepping stones that will lead you closer to your goals. By cultivating a mindset that sees challenges as valuable lessons and necessary steps on your journey, you’ll be better equipped to overcome them and continue moving forward.
Stay open to learning and growth:
Make it a priority to consistently enhance your skills, expand your knowledge, and foster your creativity in the field you’ve chosen.
Actively seek out ways to learn and improve, whether through workshops, courses, mentorship, or self-study.
Stay open to new ideas and perspectives, as they can fuel your progress and innovation. By continuously developing yourself, you’ll not only stay relevant but also increase your chances of achieving your goals and finding fulfillment in your chosen pursuits.
Surround yourself with support:
Create a supportive network of individuals who share similar interests and can offer encouragement, guidance, and assistance along your journey.
Look for mentors who have expertise in your field and can provide valuable insights and advice. Join communities or groups that align with your passions and aspirations, where you can connect with like-minded individuals.
These social connections can provide a sense of belonging, valuable feedback, and opportunities for collaboration and growth.
Stay true to yourself:
Stay true to yourself and uphold your authenticity and integrity as you pursue your goals. Keep a strong connection to your core values and allow them to serve as your compass, guiding your decisions and actions. Don’t allow your confidence to fail.
Let your values shape your choices and ensure that your pursuits align with who you truly are. This alignment will bring a sense of fulfillment and prevent you from compromising your principles along the way.
Acknowledge and appreciate the progress you make, no matter how small. Celebrating milestones along the way can help boost motivation and reinforce your sense of achievement.
“Pursue What is Meaningful, Not What is Expedient.”– Dr Jordan B. Peterson
Conclusion: Embark On Your Journey, Discover Your True Worth, & Excel
Yeah, I get it. Lack of money can be a real source of stress. Like hell I feel stressed about it. So these words are also meant for me.
Our value goes way beyond our bank account. It’s not some fixed number that determines our worth. It’s more like a journey, with ups and downs. Some days, we’ll feel like Agent 007, ready to conquer the world. On other days, we might feel down and beaten, like a sad pup.
When you’re chasing something meaningful, take the time to look inward, stay committed, and endure the process. Sometimes it might feel like you’re not moving forward like you’re stuck in a rut. But guess what? The struggle is good.
While it may not be obvious, the struggle brings about personal transformation, heightened self-awareness, and even spiritual growth.
So, keep at it, even when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. Trust that the journey itself holds immense value and that you’re evolving in ways that go beyond what’s visible on the surface.
A mindful self-help writer and photographer